Kislak Center
for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts

Because of our renovation, Reading Room hours are limited; extra time is needed to retrieve some material. Please see our hours calendar. Hours for today
Ludwig Bemelmans, detail of cover mock-up for Madeline (ca. 1939), Jean Johnson Kislak Collection, © Ludwig Bemelmans, LLC.

Goldstein Family Gallery

Covered with Vines:
The Many Talents of Ludwig Bemelmans

On exhibit August 21 - December 21, 2015

Although she was the smallest of the little girls who lived under the care of Miss Clavel in that Parisian house, Madeline has grown up, in the years since her birth in 1939, to overshadow everything else her creator, Ludwig Bemelmans, accomplished during his long and highly productive career. Based on the collection formed by Jean Kislak and Penn's own holdings, this exhibition displays printed books, manuscripts, and art to recover a Bemelmans now largely forgotten, while also celebrating Madeline. We consider Ludwig Bemelmans's multiple careers as restaurateur and hotelier, soldier, memoirist, short story writer, novelist, travel writer, script writer, cartoonist, illustrator, commercial artist, and painter.

For more information.

Image: © Ludwig Bemelmans, LLC

Recent acquisition

The Lehman register, UPenn Ms. Codex 1713

Earlier this year we purchased a unique hybrid volume relating to the German community in the Philadelphia area during the period around the American Revolution. The volume primarily contains printed forms in both German and English filled-out by the Germantown notary Christian Lehman as a record of hundreds of transactions he notarized for fellow residents.

These documents relate to the assigning of the power of attorney and illustrate the vibrant commercial culture of 18th century Philadelphia and Germantown as well as the far-reaching connections of some of its residents. Towards the end of the volume for instance, Lehman copies out a set of documents in Dutch relating to a set of transactions in Suriname. Finally, after Christian's death in 1774 the book was re-purposed by his son Benjamin and others to record sales figures from their lumber business.

The Lehman registernow UPenn Ms. Codex 1713is an invaluable source for understanding the everyday lives of newly arrived German immigrants and their neighbors in Philadelphia during a transformative period in American history.